Sunday, August 31, 2014

Written on

SFR News & Links For September 2014


Have you got a few hours? With all the new releases and sci-fi romance links in this month's roundup, you're going to need them!

New releases
PARADOX (alien invasion, IR; The Felig Chronicles #4) - P.J. Dean

Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is your best friend. Especially when they are your last resort.

Taken! Tina has been taken by Felig from the home she and Nate shared and they had believed Felig-proof. Just when the couple had smoothed out and polished the jagged edges of their relationship. Just when everything had fit together so perfectly. Nate is on a mission now to get her back, and is learning nowhere is safe and no one, untouchable. And most importantly that allies can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Written on

Interview With Shona Husk, Mel Teshco, and Denise Rossetti, Authors Of The ES SIREN Series



Authors Shona Husk, Mel Teshco, and Denise Rossetti have collaborated on an interesting-looking project: a shared-world, sizzling sci-fi romance series of novellas called ES Siren (Momentum). The first three books are out now. The next three will come out in late November 2014.

Here are the covers and blurbs:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Written on

Can Sci-Fi Romance Imagine Its Way Out of the Patriarchy?



Lady Business featured a post by author Kameron Hurley (THE MIRROR EMPIRE) called Gender, Family, Nookie: The Speculative Frontier. The title hinted at possible relevancy for sci-fi romance, so I read it. The gist of her piece is below:

I write about consent cultures. Matriarchies. Third genders. I write about futures at war, and at peace. Futures powered by bugs, or star magic, or Thundercats. If I'm writing about the limits of things, then I must step out of the narrow narrative boxes of broader media and many of my colleagues and seek out stuff that pushes at that, poking at it with a stick until it all comes undone. I read widely, and build on the work from the fringes that came before me — Geoff Ryman, Candas Jane Dorsey, Samuel Delany, Joanna Russ, and new work by folks like Jacqueline Koyanagi and Benjanun Sriduangkaew that challenges what we consider "normal" human relationships and gendered ways of being.


I found much of the article to be insightful since it's relevant to the overall potential of SFR (certainly one of fiction's "fringe" territories). Goodness knows I and others have discussed similar issues time and again over the years. Have you read "Beyond the Patriarchy: Breaking Free of Entrenched Gender Constraints in the SFR Genre" by Jody Wallace (Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly #3, June 13, 2014)? It's one of the best non-fiction pieces on SFR I've read so far this year. Here's a snippet:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Written on

In Case You Missed Them: 15 Posts About Sci-Fi Romance Films



I've blogged about a fair number of SFR and romantic SF films that I'd seen, so I decided to compile them into a handy reference list. I'm presenting them in order of "best to worst" in terms of my personal taste, which is another way of saying your mileage may vary. Extremely, in some cases. :)


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Written on

2 Discounted Ebook Downloads: QUINTEN'S REVENGE and QUINTEN'S CHOICE by KS Augustin (Limited-time offer)



From August 21-31, 2014, you can buy two ebooks by KS Augustin at 50% off!

Her space operas QUINTEN'S REVENGE (2013) and QUINTEN'S CHOICE (2014 - new release!) will be half-price for those using Limited Run or Gumroad using the discount code “4ksaugustinreaders.”

Here are the covers and blurbs so you can learn more:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Written on

Two SFR #Protips

While taste is subjective, sci-fi romance, like any genre, has areas of ongoing growth and development. Many authors, at least according to various posts I've read, are committed to offering readers a great entertainment value. The way I see it, a commitment to craft isn't about achieving perfection--because art doesn't roll like that--but rather, about using techniques to the best of one's ability that can help make one's SFR more accessible and engaging--and not just in terms of the science.

The most plausible technological elements in the world aren't going to hold my attention if the story's subtext strikes me as problematic in some way. And that right there is a reason SFR can be viewed as one response to the historic dearth of character-driven/relationship-themed science fiction stories. SFR is an area of growth for SF and is helping to increase its appeal.

During my recent reading experience, I encountered two areas of potential growth for SFR:

1) One book used "race" and "species" interchangeably when referring to the alien characters. They mean different things:

race - "a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation."


Despite the pervasiveness of "race=alien" (particularly in North American culture), race is largely a social construct. By using "race" instead of "species" to describe aliens, sci-fi romance risks presenting alien characters as symbolic of a) anyone who isn't American/white, and b) People of Color--as in PoC are alien (i.e., strange/different) to white people.

Precise language is important because it helps avoid offending readers--and these days, one's readers could hail from anywhere in the world.

2) I've blogged about the use of contemporary slang in SFR before, but it's been cropping up again in my reading. Aside from intentional usage, such as stylized space westerns or characters who are designed in an obvious way as "friends of Old Earth," contemporary slang (especially in futuristic settings) can pull readers out of a story. The same goes for description using cultural shorthand.

When authors were only selling in the North American market, the slang/shorthand might have gone unnoticed by many readers. But now, with a global market within everyone's reach, this is an area where SFR authors can consider stepping up their game. Can they assume all of their readers will understand a story's cultural references? If not, it might be a sign to examine one's reliance on them (at least the more distinctive ones).

Curbing the use of cultural shorthand and creating story-specific slang puts more readers on a level playing field and helps make stories more accessible. I like to think of it as meeting readers in the middle, wherever we happen to live. :)

What would you consider to be other areas of potential growth for SFR, especially considering the increasingly global market?

Joyfully yours,

Heather

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Written on

Interview With D.J. Davis, Author of WHILE YOU WERE AWAY


It's always a thrill to help introduce a debut science fiction romance author, and this time it's D.J. Davis, author of WHILE YOU WERE AWAY (Red Sage Publishing)! I'd known about this book's existence for over a year now, so it's wonderful to finally witness its publication.

I invited D.J. Davis aboard so we could learn more about him and his book, which promises space opera, action-adventure, and of course, romance! But first, here's the cover and blurb for WHILE YOU WERE AWAY:


Kev Thorsin has returned from a twenty-year war campaign across the stars to find that his own world has been overthrown by a corrupt regime ruling with an iron fist.  His fianc√©, Rianna Elain, is in the thick of it with a group of freedom fighters known as Libertas headed by the charismatic Terrill Briggs.  They are on the run from a noose that closes tighter each day and may soon find themselves behind bars, or worse.  Yet Kev knows of a place where they can live in safety, if he can just evade Tetraparagon forces long enough to find his love, acquire a ship, and grab stars—a task easier said than done.

 And now for my interview with D.J. Davis!

The Galaxy Express: What sparked your interest in science fiction/fantasy/romance?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Written on

Blogging About Murder Mystery Steampunk Romances at CTR

At CTR's Steampunk page, I'm blogging about Murder Mystery Steampunk Romances. In particular, I highlight and tag Kate Cross' HEART OF BRASS and Christine d'Abo's GILDED HEARTS:
The plots are very different, but they contain enough similar elements that interested readers might want to experience them as a sort of steampunk romance mystery double feature, or read one and then wait a while before reading the other. It depends on how much you enjoy Jack the Ripper style stories paired with Her Majesty’s Secret Service type organizations because both books include those elements.
Joyfully yours,

Heather

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Written on

Sci-Fi Encounters Interviews Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly Creators

Veronica Scott of Sci-Fi Encounters (USA Today Happy Every After blog) interviewed the creators of the Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly (namely, KS Augustin, Diane Dooley, and me). Here's a snippet:
An exciting development in the word of science-fiction romance is an increased interest in providing new places for readers and authors to talk about SFR (including this column), as well as opportunities to be published in shorter formats. I love that new blogs and even new online magazines are springing up to support the genre's growth.
During the interview, we go behind the scenes of SFRQ, dish on the sci-fi romances we enjoy, and share what we'd like to see happen in SFR. See you there!

Joyfully yours,

Heather
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Written on

2 Free Ebook Downloads: QUINTEN'S STORY and BALANCE OF TERROR by KS Augustin (Limited-time offer)



From August 11-20, 2014, you can download two free ebooks by KS Augustin.

Her political thriller sci-fi romance BALANCE OF TERROR (2012) and SF book QUINTEN'S STORY (Perdition #1, 2012) will be free for those using Limited Run or Gumroad using the discount code “4ksaugustinreaders.”

Here are the covers and blurbs:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Written on

Two Quotable & Notable Sci-Fi Romances



By pure happenstance, I read Lyn Brittan's LANA'S COMET and KS Augustin's OVERCLOCKED back-to-back. It turned out to be a great double feature reading experience for a number of reasons.

Both novellas feature scientist/doctor PoC heroines and "good guy" (yet flawed) heroes. What really floated my boat, though, were the stories' progressive elements and themes and thoughtful social commentary. LANA'S COMET and OVERCLOCKED aren't the only SFRs to accomplish such goals, of course, but it was pretty neat that two books in a row hit my sweet spot in ways that were both different and similar.

I'm going to pull a quote from each of these stories since the passages perfectly embody two of the main reasons I read and adore sci-fi romance. To avoid possible spoilers, I'm not going to reveal the source of the quotes.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Written on

SFR News & Links For August, 2014


You only live once, so why not spend some quality time with a sci-fi romance or three? Here are this month's new releases, including some inexpensive and free reads!

New releases

HAVOC (The Dred Chronicles #2) - Ann Aguirre
HELL IS EMPTY AND ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE.

The Conglomerate’s most dangerous convicts have made the prison ship Perdition their home. And they will defend it…

Perdition is under siege. Mercenaries have boarded the station with orders to take control of the facility—and execute the prisoners. Their commander is offering full pardons to the first five inmates willing to help the mercs complete their mission.

Dresdemona “Dred” Devos hasn’t survived hard time just to surrender to the Conglomerate’s armored thugs. Leading a ragtag army of inmates, Dred and her champion Jael wage a bloody guerilla war of chaos and carnage against impossible odds. But no matter how dire the outlook, the dread queen never backs down …

Friday, August 1, 2014

Written on

Two Free Sci-Fi Romance Ebooks From KS Augustin (Limited-time offer)


From August 1-10, 2014, author KS Augustin is running a free ebook special on two of her science fiction romances!

Her cyberpunk romance OVERCLOCKED (2012) and "future historical" THE PIRATE'S GRAND PLAN (2013) will be free for those using discount code “4ksaugustinreaders” on either Limited Run or Gumroad. The deduction will be made at checkout.

Note the shiny new covers: